Diamonds are a girl’s best friend, and now after many years of research in the diamond industry, a breakthrough has been made. A new process for creating diamonds in large quantities, from graphite, making them cost-effective to produce. Diamonds have been created from carbon since the mid 1800′s but only in small quantities. The problem was that it took an extremely high temperature and pressure to form diamonds from carbon atoms, which used up a lot of energy and produced a low yield of diamonds compared to the amount of energy expended.
However, with advancements in technology have come advances in our ability to create diamonds cheaply and easily. Now through applying microwave radiation at a critical frequency we can actually create diamond crystals from graphite much more quickly than before. This has been labeled as a breakthrough in the diamond industry, and it is likely to impact every aspect of the diamond industry from retail sales to production.
The size of a gemstone depends on a huge number of factors which include its color, clarity, and cut. In addition, there are certain properties that have an effect on how big a finished diamond will be. The most obvious factor affecting a stone’s size is its weight or mass, with larger stones naturally being bigger than smaller ones due to their increased volume. For example, one-carat diamonds can weigh up to 5 grams each while half-carat diamonds usually range from 1 gram – 2 grams apiece depending on the cut they’ve been given.
Diamonds with high clarity grades and strong, dispersion and fluorescence will always be more valuable than diamonds with lower grades. This is because the intensity of these three properties affects how much “fire” or brilliance a diamond has which in turn determines its desirability. Fire refers to the way light interacts with the stone, penetrating deep inside it due to refraction before being reflected back out towards your eye. The brighter this effect appears to be, the higher quality it’s deemed to be especially if looking at white stones.
Diamonds are priced according to their size, color, and clarity but also according to their cut grade. A good cut can enhance a gemstone’s color making it look more intense while at the same time providing added sparkle & shine via facets that are cut into the stone to reflect light. However, if a diamond is cut too deep or shallow then it loses its ability to show off these attributes. Also, diamonds with perfect symmetry & polish require much more labor and time to be created which affects their cost.
All this info plus many other factors determine how large or small your finished diamond will end up being for sure, but no matter how big it may be there’s always one constant factor that can’t be overlooked – Money! Unless you’re born rich chances are good that you’ll only end up buying something within your means, so keep this in mind when considering any type of jewelry purchase, not just diamonds since larger stones also equal bigger price tags.
Diamonds are graded on a scale (the 4 Cs) in order to determine their quality prior to sale. This helps narrow down the many variations found in diamond qualities, making it easier for retailers and consumers alike to compare one stone with another.
One of the most common grading scales used in the industry is GIA’s, which grades stones based on their color, clarity, and cut. Diamonds are given a letter grade within each category followed by a number rating. For example, an E color stone denotes that it’s pure white while ranging from D-Z creates progressively darker shades due to increasing degrees of yellow or brown. Clarity ratings go from flawless (FL) all the way down to opaque (O). Finally cut grades range from Excellent (EX) all the way down to Poor (P) with the latter being comprised of stones that are totally flawed.
Diamond Cut Grades
Excellent (EX): This cut grade requires extremely high precision and skill to execute, which is why it doesn’t happen very often. The metal used for an excellent cut is 25-50% heavier than normal meaning the diamond will feel slightly denser due to its increased weight. A well-cut stone will reflect nearly all of the light that enters it making it appear lively & brilliant with maximum flash or scintillation. To qualify as “excellent” a diamond must have 58 facets plus proper alignment, symmetry, proportions & polish.
Very Good (VG): Sometimes called just “Good”, this quality represents what most people tend to think about when imagining a high-quality, well-cut diamond. A stone with this rating will reflect nearly three-quarters of the light that enters it providing exceptional brilliance and fire. To qualify as “very good” a diamond must have 59 or more facets plus proper alignment, symmetry & proportions.
Good (G): This grade is slightly lower than Very Good due to slight imperfections which can be seen when inspecting the diamond closely using 10x magnification. Although it has all the sparkle associated with better quality stones, this quality really shines in larger diamonds since their higher weight tends to mask flaws better than smaller gems do. Just like Very Good stones, they must also conform to proper alignment, symmetry & proportions in order to qualify.
Fair (F): These diamonds tend to look less lively and slightly lifeless due to the high degree of internal flaws that can be seen under 10x magnification. However, because these stones are often very large they tend to look more attractive than smaller diamonds with the same cut grade. To qualify as “fair” a diamond must have 61 or more facets plus proper alignment, symmetry & proportions.
Poor (P): This cut quality represents the lowest rung on the ladder in terms of diamond cuts, which is why it’s also referred to as “uncut”. These stones are pretty much flawless when inspected under 10-20x magnification but their lack of brilliance due to angles that are too shallow or deep can make them seem ‘dull’ at certain times. Because they face up less attractively many people end up choosing other quality grades; however if you’re on a very tight budget then these stones can provide exceptional value. To qualify as “poor” a diamond must have 63 or more facets plus proper alignment, symmetry & proportions. Colorless (D – J): The color scale used by GIA is based on 6 levels of increasing darkness, beginning with the letter D which represents the lightest shades, and continuing through to Z for darker colors. Most diamonds tend to be somewhere in between D-F but it’s not unusual to come across higher color grades in certain sizes, cuts & qualities. The closer to colorless a diamond gets the more expensive it will be due to rarity so expect prices that are 2-3x greater than for near colorless diamonds of the same quality.